Janelle Monae is nothing if not an individual. She’s a fierce musician with an undefined style, an androgynous fashion icon and an outspoken advocate of otherness. Obviously, she’s someone to pay attention to.
The singer recently spoke with our brother site, AfterElton.com, and told them what message she wants to send to the LGBT community. Here’s what she had to say:
I want them to know that my music, my story and who I am as an artist is all to help promote more acceptance of the individual and individuality, especially if it’s out of love, not hate. I’m looking to help create a world and open people’s eyes to all the many different dimensions in order to help others feel like they have a voice and have someone standing up for them. I’m writing music that hopefully can be a bridge to bring us all together. That’s the world that I really do want to see. You know, us uniting more.
It’s also hard just being a young African American female, there’s times where people think that we’re all monolithic and the same, you know we can get discriminated against, by the type of music that we want to play and listen to, and I want the gay and lesbian community to understand that I know what it’s like to feel like the “other” and I’m writing a song that the message will hopefully open up people’s minds and will create not a red state or a blue state but a purple state. Where we all can live together in peace with strong imaginations.
Janelle said she’s made sure to put these messages in her songs, because that’s what she’s all about. Not only “Born This Way,” per se, but being this way. Living life, doing what you do, however you want to be, you can be. Like while her peers are wearing next to nothing on stage, she prefers long-sleeve shirts, slacks, ties, top hats and sometimes capes.
“If you listen to ‘Cold War,’ it’s definitely one of the songs about individuality and figuring out who you are and being comfortable with yourself and not allowing anybody to oppress you or depress you and make you feel like there’s something wrong with you,” Janelle said. “The lyrics — ‘I was made to believe there’s something wrong with me’ — that definitely is the message in that song and so it is in my work and there’s lot of metaphors in there.”
So if you haven’t yet listened to her last album, The ArchAndroid, I suggest you grab a copy and play it loudly while watching Metroid on mute. (OK, that last part is optional.) As for when we can expect some more music from Ms. Monae, she said it’s in the works.
“I’m still working on it now,” she said. “I’ll know when it’s right or when it’s too early or when it’s too late. I will say that the ideas are going to be really strong and the concepts are really strong and the music is going to be taken to the next level. I’m really excited about the release. I guess I’ll know whenever the red robin leaps in the frog’s nest, I’ll know it’s time to release.”
Obviously! And we’re ready to decipher what the hell she’s singing about again.